PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s moderates must not just express their views but ensure that those voices are injected into the country’s political mainstream, said Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid (pic).
Dr Munir, a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics’ LSE IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy, said not much time or leadership inclination was offered to infuse moderate principles or fight extremist ideas around and within the opposition and ruling parties.
“They (moderates) have to get into politics or influence the direction of the political parties in a significant and direct way,” he said in a statement.
Dr Munir said time was not on the side of the moderates.
“Look at the horrors extremists are committing, causing death and destruction around the world.
“They are gaining the ground moderates never occupied. Moderates must not allow them to gain ground in our country,” he said, urging the country’s moderates to actively drive the political discourse and occupy the political space.
While lauding The Star’s campaign for moderates in the country to stand up and speak out, Munir said it should not just end there.
He pointed out that history and contemporary events showed that belief in moderation must actively occupy the political space and compete for popular support.
“Alas, increasingly in Malaysia the competition for popular support is merely to gain power and not to mobilise opinion to reject extremist ideas that could undermine the basis upon which the nation is founded,” he added.
Dr Munir said the country’s political opposition never had any particular platform or ideology and founded its support on an anti-ruling party sentiment.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that when in power it should break up, as competition gets internalised over the enjoyment of its spoils.”
Dr Munir also cautioned that economic growth and well-being might not necessarily satisfy the people any more as they were increasingly searching for justice, equity and accountability.
Extremism, he pointed out, was often founded on their absence.